IOM and East and Horn of Africa Governments Renew Commitment to Labour Mobility, Gender-sensitive Migration Governance, and Regional Integration for Development and Economic Growth

Addis Ababa – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), and Labour Ministers  from 11 countries in East and Horn of Africa,  the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the East African Community, the African Union Commission, other UN agencies, Technical Working Groups and donors, have met in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to discuss enhancing the protection of human rights of millions migrant workers, and managing migration for development and economic growth, through human mobility, gender sensitive migration governance, and regional integration.

Under the platform of the 4th  ‘Regional Ministerial Forum on Migration’ (RMFM)  on Harmonizing Labour Migration Policies in East and Horn of Africa: A United Approach on Safe, Regular and Humane Labour Migration, and under the theme “Labour Mobility, Migration Governance and Regional Integration in East and Horn of Africa”, Ministers from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda, agreed to, to unite as a block to realize the potential of and address migration issues in the region.

In a signed joint-statement, Ministers agreed to strengthen High-Level Ministerial Meetings and Regional and National Technical Advisory Committees (TACs). Strengthen existing RMFM Technical Working Groups (TWGs) working on bilateral labour agreements, ethical recruitment, migrant workers rights, skills development and job creation. Youth employment, return and reintegration of migrant workers, gender and diaspora, private sector engagement, and consular services. Governments also promised to establish new Technical Working Group sub-groups to give gender, private sector engagement, and migrant workers’ health, mechanisms for the enforcement of ethical recruitment standards, and promised to continue training private recruitment agencies. 

There are over 13.7 million migrant workers in Africa and 3.6 million migrant workers in the region, according to IOM’s Regional Data Hub. With East & Horn of Africa hosting 3 of the largest migration corridors in the region.  

“The need for gatherings of key stakeholders in labour mobility, migration governance and regional integration such as this can never be overstressed. It is common knowledge that this area is facing new challenges which are particularly urgent to be addressed,” said the Chairperson of the RMFM, H. E. Muferihat Kamil Ahmed, Minister of Labor and Skills, The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Ministers also committed to establishing more robust negotiating positions in their engagement with countries of destination, in particular Gulf countries and the EU. Ministers were also invited to join  IOM’s Global Policy Network (GPN), a government-led vehicle for policy dialogue and collaboration, and asked to work more closely with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the East African Community and the African Union as guardians of the Free Movement Protocol (FMP), Common Market Protocol (CMP) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), respectively which all seek to enhance labour mobility, migration governance and regional integration. 

“We would like to thank the technical experts from the Ministries of Labour, Interior, Foreign Affairs and Gender of the 11 Member States of the RMFM for their contributions including their work this week on issues. These Technical Working Groups have been working tirelessly to showcase the progress made in the areas of interest and concern and we will share few of the good practices and impactful results. The RMFM was set up to promote policy coherence and better development outcomes through migration” noted Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa.

It is the 4th such Ministerial meeting to convene to discuss labour mobility and migration with leaders from across the region. IOM/UN Migration Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa co-ordinates the RMFM with funding from the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), under the Better Regional Migration Management (BRMM) programme. The RMFM’s work is guided by the relevant regional and global initiatives addressing migration, such as the Africa 2063 Agenda, AU Free Movement Protocol, the Revised Migration Policy Framework for Africa, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs 8.8 and 10.7), the Global Compact for Migration (Objectives 6 and 23) as well as the IOM’s Migration Governance Framework.

For more information and media enquiries please contact: Yvonne Ndege, Regional Spokesperson, International Organization for Migration, East and Horn of Africa Regional Office, Nairobi: Tel +254797735977, Email  OR Janet Adongo: Email   Tel:  +254722750152 

SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities